I want to tell you some things about freedom. These are things that you will need to know if you hope to live in true freedom. I hope you will give careful attention to these things and live as free men.
The starting point for freedom is to recognize that it must first be internal. Freedom is not a matter of being free to do what you want. Instead it is about being able to do what you ought. You will meet many people who live to pursue what they want and claim that they are living free. I can tell you that they know nothing of real freedom. They are mastered by desire. True freedom comes when desire is mastered by the truth. The greatest enemy to your freedom is you. You will struggle to understand just how prone to sin you are. Apart from Christ you have no means to live free. It will only be by God’s Holy Spirit working in you that you will experience true freedom.
You need to know that freedom is very costly. Freedom has many enemies and if you want to live free you will have to fight every day. The good news is that the worst of the fighting has been done for you. Jesus alone paid the price for your freedom so don’t even think about trying to add to what He has provided. Your part in the fight is to believe. You must wrestle with the gospel every day of your life. Strive to go deeper into the grace of God. Refuse to remain ignorant of the means God has provided for the liberty of your soul.
It is important to understand these two points I have briefly described if you hope to know something of freedom in an earthly kingdom. The freedom of a country is always tied to the personal, internal freedom of its citizens. We have largely forgotten in our time that we cannot remain a free people if we cannot rule our own hearts, and we cannot rule our hearts apart from God. You see, freedom is founded upon the rule of just laws, the just exercise of mercy and a spirit of generosity. In other words, it is the very characteristics of God that provide the foundation for freedom. Don’t look to your government for freedom, because it cannot give it to you. Look to God’s means for freedom; that is your greatest hope of living free in an earthly kingdom.
One final thing: Be brave. Countless men and women have given their lives to keep our country free. You may be called on to do the same. The perfect picture of freedom in this life is the ability to face death with the assurance that Christ has overcome it.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. -John 15:13